April 28, 2022

Graduate student government votes 'no confidence' in IU provost

The resolution points out that IU has taken actions to discourage the strike. - WFIU-WTIU

The resolution points out that IU has taken actions to discourage the strike.

WFIU-WTIU

Indiana University graduate student leaders say they’ve lost confidence in newly appointed Provost Rahul Shrivastav.

The Graduate and Professional Student Government held an emergency meeting Wednesday to vote on the no-confidence resolution.

The resolution passed 55 to two. Four members abstained.

It’s the latest move to put pressure on the university administration in support of the Graduate Workers Coalition, which is seeking to form a union.

The resolution withdraws representatives from committees of shared governance at IU until the administration engages in a meaningful dialogue with the coalition.

“The ending line is: ‘Whereas the provost has corroded mentor-mentee relationships across campus and produced a tense on-campus climate,’” said Andrew Guenther, a member of the GPSG’s general assembly and incoming sustainability officer, ahead of the vote. “And the resolution would express a vote of no confidence in the leadership of Provost Rahul Shrivastav.”

The resolution also points to actions the administration has taken to discourage the strike. They’ve asked professors to complete grad worker duties themselves and threatened to dismiss some student academic appointees.

An IU spokesperson said Wednesday that the provost has participated in more than 15 meetings with grad workers and the GPSG since his appointment in February. 

In a statement after the vote Wednesday night, GPSG president Valentina Luketa said she met with the provost’s chief of staff over the weekend.

“(I) met with the Provost’s Chief of Staff who asked if GPSG could act as a mediator in settling the strike. It was my first time meeting with the Office of the Provost,” Luketa said. “After an exchange of ideas and a promise to continue the dialogue, the Provost announced the creation of another committee claiming that his idea evolved from our conversation. It did not. This was a violation of the most fundamental norms of dialogue and felt like a teenage stunt to trick us into endorsing his ideas, once again claiming he was consulting the GPSG as if his ideas had emerged out of a genuine dialogue.”

Luketa says the GPSG hopes the no-confidence vote will send a message to IU’s board of trustees that they’ve “lost all faith” in the provost’s leadership.

George Hale contributed to this report.

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